How Can I Get My Partner More Involved in Childcare?
Parenting is hard work, and single parents are often challenged with filling dual roles of Mom and Dad. However, for some parents the challenge is not being the only parent in the home. The challenge is being the only parent in the home who is parenting. The roles of moms and dads have definitely changed over the years and each family is left to find a way that works best for them to provide involved fathers and mothers.
Do you ever feel like you are doing most of the childcare? That you change the diapers, attend to the basics needs, and spend the most time with your child? Do you wish that your partner was more involved in parenting? You’re not alone – and you don’t have to continue feeling this way.
5 Ways to Encourage a More Involved Father
1. Stop keeping score. The first step to a better parenting relationship is to quit acting like the other parent is the opponent and you’re keeping score against him. Parenting is a partnership that requires commitment, compromise, and a fair dose of humor. So throw away the scorecard and start working as a team.
2. Talk about your expectations. Families have evolved and if your partner grew up in a household where the moms did the cooking and childcare and the dads did the yard work, he might not understand how to arrange your roles to work for both of you. Talk about your personal needs with “I” statements such as: “I know we are both tired in the evening. I would appreciate it if we could share the bedtime routine. What if one of us handled the bathing and the other one handled the story reading?”
3. Make a strategy together. At the beginning of each week, take a look at the calendar and talk about who needs or wants to do which activities, and how that will affect parenting. If you have a particularly busy week at work, talk about your need to have time in the evening not doing household chores and all of the childcare. Ask your partner what he would like to contribute for the week, and what he needs from you this week.
4. Be OK with a different approach. Sometimes partners get frightened away from sharing parenting duties because they either are or feel threatened that their way will be criticized. If you want an involved father in the relationship, be OK with his way of changing diapers or bathing, even if it is not the way that you would really like to have it done.
5. Acknowledge the good. A little bit of recognition can go a long way. If your partner reads a story to your little one, tell him how important it is to you that he took the time when you know he is tired. If your partner made dinner (even if it is something you wouldn’t have chosen), acknowledge the effort and energy it took.
Sometimes what you need to do is just walk away – for the moment. It is freeing for both parents to fly solo for just a while. Go for a walk, to the grocery store, or to a meeting and leave your partner to care for your child. When you do so, be sure not to leave a million little instructions, and be sure to acknowledge his part in your evening when you get home. Tell him that you appreciate being able to be away and trust him to give your child loving care while you are gone.
[Featured Image Courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]